Murdoch Divorce Said to Be Almost Final
By PETER LATTMAN and AMY CHOZICK
Published: November 19, 2013
Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng Murdoch are negotiating the final details of their divorce settlement, a deal that will officially end the 14-year marriage of the media mogul and his third wife, according to people with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
A judge has scheduled a hearing in the case, Murdoch vs. Murdoch, for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday at New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, according to a courthouse clerk. Both Murdochs are scheduled to attend the conference.
Lawyers for the couple could announce at the hearing, or even earlier, that they have reached an agreement, though the talks could still fall apart, these people cautioned.
William D. Zabel, a lawyer for Ms. Murdoch, declined to comment. Mr. Murdoch’s divorce lawyer, Ira E. Garr, was not immediately available to comment.
People close to the Murdochs have described the settlement negotiations as amicable, in part because they signed one prenuptial and two postnuptial agreements outlining the separation of assets in the event of a divorce.
Still, there have been several contested issues. It is unclear how those issues have been resolved, but one of the stickier ones is the dividing of their residences. In New York, the Murdochs lived in a penthouse triplex at 834 Fifth Avenue that was once owned by Laurance S. Rockefeller. The Murdochs purchased the apartment for $44 million in 2005.
In Beijing, they own a siheyuan, a courtyard-style house near the Chinese capital’s Forbidden City. Shortly after marrying, they transformed the home in an old hutong, or alley, into a sprawling oasis filled with works by Chinese artists. Mrs. Murdoch has held parties there in the past with such guests as Tony and Cherie Blair. There are also properties in Australia, London and California.
There are also the custody arrangements for their daughters, Grace, 12, and Chloe, 10. Mr. Murdoch has four children from his previous two marriages.
In addition, the Murdoch family trust, which holds most of Mr. Murdoch’s wealth, estimated at about $13 billion, has been a point of contention. Mr. Murdoch upset his wife by not giving their daughters the same voting rights in the trust as his four elder children. The two girls do, however, have an equal economic interest.
For the last several years, Mrs. Murdoch has focused on producing movies.
Mr. Murdoch has devoted his time to the recent split of his multibillion-dollar media conglomerate into two separate companies, News Corporation, the publishing company, and 21st Century Fox, which houses the entertainment assets.
Once a fixture on the New York social circuit with a group of loyal friends that includes David Geffen, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna Huffington and Bono, Mrs. Murdoch has kept a low profile since June, when Mr. Murdoch surprised her with divorce papers. The filing said that the “relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably.”
Mr. Murdoch met Wendi Deng in 1998 on a business trip to China, where she worked for a division of News Corporation. They married a year later in New York harbor aboard Mr. Murdoch’s 155-foot sailing yacht, the Morning Glory.
The boat has been put up for sale.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: November 19, 2013
An earlier version of this article misstated the age of the Murdochs’ daughter Grace. She turned 12 on Tuesday; she is not 11 years old.